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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Olevia 565H LCOS HDTV

Olevia, a sub-brand of Syntax-Brillian, is a relative newcomer to the TV world. While most companies are content to race to zero on the low end of the market, Syntax-Brillian decided to step in and fight with the big dogs. This, and the fact that they proudly use high-end scalers in most of their displays, made them a no-brainer for this Face Off.

The 565H had a lot going for it, at first. There were multitudes of inputs, and, like only one other TV in the Face Off, the 565H accepts 1080p over all of the HD inputs including component). The remote is by far the most attractive of the bunch, and it’s backlit. It doesn’t have direct input access, but the source button instead pulls up a list of inputs to select from. Few of the judges were enamored of the TV’s aesthetics, and Adrienne commented that the front-panel controls were too obvious.

Like only one other TV in the Face Off (the JVC), the 565H correctly deinterlaces 1080i/30 and correctly detects the 3:2 sequence in 1080i material. This is no doubt due to the Pixelworks DNX chip. With 480i material, the Olevia also picked up the 3:2 sequence quickly, both with synthetic tests and real video material. With 480i sourced from video (like the waving flag from the Silicon Optix test DVD), the Olevia showed almost no jagged edges.

Across every selection, this TV was noticeably softer than the others. As it was soft with both SD and HD, it’s doubtful that it’s a scaling issue. The measurements backup this theory. Using our Leader LT-446 test generator, we only measured 990 lines of resolution with 1080i material. Using an advance copy of the Silicon Optix test HD DVD, the 565H could just barely resolve a one-pixel-on/one-pixel-off pattern vertically and not at all horizontally (as was the case with two other displays here). One pixel on/one pixel off is a portion of a larger pattern. This portion consists of thin alternating white and black lines that are one pixel wide, and it tests the absolute limit of a TV’s resolution.

Without the softness issue, the 565H probably would have moved up a few slots. After all, it seemed to decode images very well, and its contrast ratio and black level weren’t bad. (The average here was better than normal.) When we do this again next year, there will hopefully be a new Olevia model that keeps what this one does right and finds some of that lost detail. That would be very interesting.


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